Water Polo Athletes Added to Team GB for London 2012
June 25, 2012 14:00 pm
The British Olympic Association (BOA) has announced today 26 athletes - 13 male and 13 female - to represent Team GB in the men’s and women’s water polo competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Great Britain claimed four gold medals in men’s water polo at the early Olympic Games, but have been absent from the competition since 1956. The women’s event has only been held at the last three Games, and Team GB’s women will be making their Olympic debut in London this summer.
The athletes selected to Team GB today are:
- Rosemary Morris
- Robyn Nicholls
- Frances Leighton
- Angela Winstanley-Smith
- Lisa Gibson
- Rebecca Kershaw
- Ciara Gibson-Byrne
- Fiona McCann
- Chloe Wilcox
- Francesca Clayton
- Francesca Painter-Snell
- Alexandra Rutlidge
- Hazel Musgrove
- Edward Scott
- Matthew Holland
- Joseph O’Regan
- Jake Vincent
- Robert Parker
- Craig Figes
- Ciaran James
- Glen Robinson
- Sean Ryder
- Adam Scholefield
- Jack Waller
- Sean King
- Alexander Parsonage
CLICK HERE to view full athlete profiles
Women’s captain Fran Leighton, who won a Commonwealth Games bronze medal in 2006 with England, will lead Team GB’s women in to their first Olympic Games. In January this year they progressed to the European Championships for the first time in 15 years, achieving their best result since 1987 when they played in the B final.
The women’s squad includes a mix of youth and experience, with Leighton, aged 30, the oldest member of the team, and Ciara Gibson-Byrne the youngest member at 19 years old.
Captaining the men’s squad in London is another Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, 33 year old Craig Figes, who has a strong family history in the water. His grandmother is a former world record holder, and his mother swam at the 1966 Commonwealth Games. The men’s squad contains ten athletes aged 25 or under.
Team GB’s men will face a tough group stage with matches against reigning Champions Hungary, the USA and Serbia – the silver and bronze medallists in 2008 as well as Montenegro and Romania.
The women’s team will take on Italy, Russia and Australia, bronze medallists from Beijing.
The water polo event will take place from 29th July to 12th August at the Water Polo Arena in the Olympic Park. The women's gold-medal match will be contested on 9th August, while the men's gold-medal match will take place on 12th August.
Hungary are the team to beat in the men’s event, having won three consecutive Olympic gold medals in Sydney, Athens and Beijing. The women’s event has so far has been won by Australia, Italy and the Netherlands.
The addition of the water polo athletes brings the total number of athletes officially selected to compete for Team GB at London 2012 to 314 from 27 sport disciplines.
The athletes were formally nominated to the BOA for selection to Team GB by British Swimming, the National Governing Body for water polo in the UK.
Team GB Chef de Mission Andy Hunt said:
“It is great to announce another piece of British Olympic history with the selection of the first ever Team GB women’s water polo team to compete at the Olympic Games, and the first men’s team to feature since the 1956 Olympics.
“Both the men’s and women’s squads have an abundance of young athletes, which bodes well for the future of the sport. While both teams face stiff opposition in their respective groups I have every confidence that with the support of the home crowd behind them they will deliver very competitive and credible performances.
“Importantly, London 2012 presents a fantastic opportunity to showcase a sport which has its roots in this country and in which Team GB claimed no less than four consecutive gold medals in the early Olympic Games. We hope the exciting performances of the Team GB athletes selected today will inspire many young people to give water polo a try and deliver a long term legacy for the sport across the UK.”
Team GB women’s water polo captain Fran Leighton said:
“I can’t believe this day has finally arrived and I’m actually going to compete at the London Olympics. I don’t think it has sunk in yet.
“The squad has worked hard over the last eight years and it has been a real team effort to get this far. This is just the start for us though; we have lots of work still to do before our first game. It is exciting and an honour for us to finally be joining Our Greatest Team. Bring it on.”
Team GB men’s water polo captain Craig Figes said:
“I am massively excited, this is a huge honour. I’m so pleased to be able to have the opportunity to play in a home Olympic Games. Its mixed emotions for our teammates who haven’t made it through as they have all helped to us to improve and I hope we do them proud in London.”
About Team 2012:
Team 2012, presented by Visa, is the official support programme for British athletes striving to be selected for Team GB and ParalympicsGB in 2012.
Alongside National Lottery and Exchequer funding, Team 2012 helps to raise funds to support 1,200 athletes from 47 Olympic and Paralympic sports and disciplines who are in training to be selected for Team GB and ParalympicsGB at London 2012. Funds raised are invested in six key areas across 47 different Olympic and Paralympic sporting disciplines:
- Coaching and athlete management
- International travel to both compete and train abroad
- Medical support including sports psychology, physiotherapy, nutrition and intensive rehabilitation
- Kit and equipment
- Home Games preparations e.g. preparation camps
For more information on Team 2012, visit www.team-2012.com